SkyDrive has started accepting preorders from private individuals for its SD-05 two-seat eVTOL aircraft. The Japanese company has been securing preorders from business customers since unveiling a new design for the vehicle in September 2022, with Vietnam’s Pacific Group being the first to commit with an agreement to take up to 100 units.
On April 13, Kotaro Chiba, co-founder and managing partner of the venture capital group Drone Fund, signed an agreement with SkyDrive to preorder the aircraft. He was the first investor in the company back in November 2018 and has supported more than 60 start-ups.
SkyDrive did not disclose the terms of the new personal-use preorder agreements, including whether or not they are backed by a down payment. The company has also not revealed the purchase price for the SD-05 vehicle, which it aims to start delivering in 2025.
Series C Funding Round Increases Capital Pot
Earlier this week, SkyDrive reported that it has raised further capital via its Series C funding round with undisclosed investments from Japan's MUFG Bank and a target fund including electronic components group Murata Manufacturing. The company said that the total raised through the Series C campaign now exceeds 10 billion yen ($75.1 million), representing an increase of just over $3 million since the company's funding announcement in September 2022, when the total raised stood at 9.6 billion yen. The company says that since it launched in 2018, it has raised more than 15 billion yen ($112.6 million).
Chiba, who owns a HondaJet, holds a pilot’s license. SkyDrive says, however, that personal-use customers for the SD-05 will not be required to be licensed pilots.
“In 2018, I was captivated by SkyDrive’s vision of the future and its innovative aircraft, fueling my dream of flying cars,” Chiba commented. “Upon seeing the company’s first prototype, I was convinced that my dream was finally within reach, and I enthusiastically made the decision to invest in SkyDrive. Since then, SkyDrive has conducted successful crewed test flights and applied for type certification, further solidifying my confidence in the team’s ability to make the dream a reality.”
According to SkyDrive founder and CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa, the company has fielded numerous inquiries from both private and commercial customers, including Pacific Group, which holds 10 confirmed preorders and options for another 90 aircraft. SkyDrive said that “after careful consideration” it opened the order book to private individuals. Last year, the company announced plans to establish a base in South Carolina to gain access to the U.S. market.
“As we aim to create a future where everyone has access to eVTOLs as [part of] their daily transportation, we understand that it is important that we have an option for individuals to own their aircraft,” Fukuzawa commented. “We will develop fully automated aircraft in the future and further promote the realization of a society where everyone utilizes the sky for daily transportation.”